How the Global Compact on Refugees is turning into action in Jordan.


How the Global Compact on Refugees is turning into action in Jordan.
A lady and girl outside, overlooking a city scape.

Syriana Indika, a Sri Lankan refugee, is photographed with her daughter Rania near her house in Amman, Jordan.

Content of this page:
1. Description of the refugee situation
2. Jordan's response to the refugee situation
3. Steps towards meeting the objectives of the Compact in Jordan


1. Description of refugee situation

Where does the population of concern live?

  • Camps - 123,041 (16.5%)
  • Urban settings - 621,775 (83.5%)

Find live data, information and fact sheets on the refugee situation in Jordan on the UNHCR Operational Portal as well as Global Focus


2. Jordan's response to the refugee situation

The Jordan Response Plan (JRP) is a globally-recognized good practice of a government-led refugee response mechanism. It is a chapter of the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) and offers a strategic coordination, planning, advocacy, and programming platform allowing humanitarian and development partners to share responsibility and support Jordan in responding to the Syria crisis and its impact on human movement in Jordan.   

Since its inception in 2014, the JRP has been promoting and enhancing the nexus between the humanitarian and development objectives under both the Refugee and Resilience pillars of the plan, recognising short-term people-centred needs, whilst also taking a more development-orientated approach to address medium to longer-term systemic and institutional fragilities. Its inclusive and responsive approach as well as the ability to bring together the humanitarian and development spheres allowed the JRP to have a firm foundation with a strong national leadership coupled with sustained support from the international community to ease the pressures on Jordan. 

The JRP 2020-2022 is aligned with the Global Compact on Refugees as well as with the Sustainable Development Goals.  Efforts to enhance the JRP will support Jordan in achieving the GCR objectives. The plan incorporates a resilience perspective to respond to and mitigate the effects of the crisis on Syrian refugees and Jordanian people, host communities and institutions. The resilience perspective also moves towards a needs-based approach.   

The foundation of the JRP model is strong national leadership, with national actors as the principal responders. Coordination and planning are managed through an overall Steering Committee supported by the active participation of all relevant national and international stakeholders within sector-level task forces. This structure ensures international community support to the JRP and alignment with national priorities. UNHCR provides technical support to the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MOPIC) and JRP Task Forces.  

The 2019 JRP was prepared in alignment and complementarity with Jordan’s national plans and strategies, mainly the Executive Development Program (EDP) and the Governorate Development Program (GDP).  

Partnerships in the response

Partners involved:

  • Strong engagement within the overall UN Country team with additional specific engagement with WFP, UNICEF, ILO and UNWOMEN. 
  • Involvement of the Government of Jordan at numerous points including through the following line ministries: Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation; Ministry of Labour; Ministry of Interior; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Education; Ministry of Social Development; Ministry of Health. 
  • Engagement at a local level with the municipalities within the 12 Governorates of Jordan; including the Greater Amman Municipality.

Which partnerships have been strengthened or have been made possible thanks to the implementation of the Global Compact of Refugees?

The GCR reflects that the protection of those who are forced to flee, and support for the countries that host them, are a shared international responsibility – one that must be borne more equitably and predictably.  The JRP is built on partnership at every level: local, sub-national, national and regional, with engagement from a wide range of local actors, including local municipalities, civil society groups, charities, and foundations. Their inclusion is critical to ensure an effective response, given that, in Jordan, most refugees live among host communities.  

The desire of civil society to engage and respond to these protracted situations arose with two key aims. First to alleviate the burden on host communities; second, to ensure a more localized perspective supporting more sustainable, effective, inclusive and comprehensive responses.  

The MENA Civil Society Network for Displacement provides an unprecedented platform unique in its cross-cultural themes, wide geographical scope across the MENA region and diverse in its members. Its purpose is to provide a platform for civil society stakeholders in the region to strengthen and amplify their individual voices and actions in favour of the protection and assistance of displaced persons and host communities. This is done through aligned messaging, joint advocacy, training and development, and stronger coordination on the ground. 


3. Steps towards meeting the objectives of the Compact in Jordan

Summary of the Refugee Compact in action in Jordan

Jordan can be viewed as a strong case of “good practice” for the implementation of the GCR.

Under objective 2 of the GCR, “enhance refugee self-reliance”, the right of Syrian refugees to legal work has been established through Jordan’s Labour Law 8, 1996. The Jordan Compact, supported by concessional financing, has allowed refugees’ access to work permits for certain labour sectors. Additionally, since November 2018, through a Cabinet decision, refugees have the legal right to establish home-based businesses, increasing income opportunities, in particular for women. Access to subsidized healthcare for Syrian refugees has been guaranteed through the Jordan Health Fund for Refugees (a multi donor account), established in the Ministry of Health to help ease the burden on the Health infrastructure in Jordan (supporting objective 1 of the GCR). 

Social inclusion is supported through the issuance of Government Identity cards, helping refugees to access healthcare and basic education, as well as increasing the overall protection space in country.  

Despite the impact of the arrival of Syrian students into Jordanian schools, and the pressures this has placed on the human and financial resources of Jordan’s education system, the Ministry has continued its commitment to ensure refugees’ access to education and equality through its “Education for All” vision that supports vulnerable Jordanians and refugees to contribute to an economically strong and peaceful Jordan.  

Innovation in learning is a common objective for all in Jordan. Technology is plays a key role in innovation and education. An alliance of humanitarian actors, private sector, and community led initiatives supports online learning that engages both Jordanians and refugees, allowing both communities to flourish alongside each other. 

The majority of refugees in Jordan live in urban communities. UNHCR and partners adopt a community-based protection approach to foster social cohesion. By building community centres across the country for those who are affected by the Syrian crisis to come together, there are spaces for refugees and local communities to participate in a variety of activities together and supporting dialogue and trust. 

Gradually an increase in financial inclusion of refugees is observed, with iris-activated cash dispensers to facilitate cash assistance, and university students receiving their stipends through mobile wallets. 

The impact of the crisis in Syria on Jordan has been recognised by the international community and multiple initiatives encourage ‘burden sharing’, including several Brussels Conferences, organised by the European Union, to mobilise political support and humanitarian funding,, alongside the 2019 London Initiative, a joint endeavour between the British and Jordanian Governments, supporting investments, growth and jobs in Jordan.  

As regards objective 3 of the GCR, whilst resettlement places have decreased since a peak in 2016, we begin to see an increase in complementary pathways, including family reunification; educational opportunities and labour mobility. Whilst recognising that these opportunities are, as of now quite limited, we begin to see additional countries interested to explore these options. 

Pledges and contributions made by Jordan



Pledges and contributions dashboard (interactive by Area of Focus)

This dashboard includes all pledges and contributions made towards the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees in Jordan, including national pledges made by the Government of Jordan itself.


> See more good practice projects and initiatives in Jordan